Environment Sunday, July 10, 2016
COME AND SING WITH ME
Write up by: Lokesh
Photos courtesy: Vipul, Jaweed, Ganesh
Why did I go there? What was I getting out of it? Was it just to pass my time!! Was it just because I was getting bored! No, not at all. It was because I love it. I love keeping myself busy. I love pushing my limits a bit further each time. I love having something different always in my life. With home and office at extremes, In a life stuck in a loop I wanted anomalies. Finally I am there awestruck at the beauty. I was free to love mothernature for full two days. I was sure I am gonna enjoy this and I did. After two mesmerizing days we gathered back at the starting point. Everyone got in the van to return to Chennai but I did not wanna leave so I stayed. I bid them goodbye as they disappeared in the dark. What in the name of holy god did I just do! I am not that much sane. I was getting scared as darkness grew. Even silhouettes started getting disappeared. It was all pitch black now. With my heartbeat shooting to moon I started crying. That is when I woke up breathing heavily and sweating in A.C. I gulped one bottle of water, calmed myself down and gave a faint smile. What a fantastic nightmare was that on Thursday night. PeacefullyI slept on Friday nightthinking of what lies ahead.
I woke up at 2:30, got fresh, clubbed everything together, checked once again, forgot to brush so did and checked the baggage once again. This being my first trek,I was adamant on having everything a bit extra. Got to Tidel Park at 3:40 and started calling everybody. Some had so much of Tequila they did not bother to pick up. Some nicely said no. Some told to bethere in 10 mins but that 10 somehow always gets multiplied by. Few more joined at Madhya Kailash, Guindy and Koyembedu. I had a vivid image of Vishal in my mind that he will be big, broad and muscular. When we reached to pick himup I wondered this guy! He seemed so lean that it felt like he will definitely disappear after the trek but a very amazing, fantastic trekker.
Finally us 15 were on the way to Nagalapuram Hills, utthukottai. I had my preplanned sleep of two hours. Woke up to find myself in the nature’s lap. Far in the horizon hills can be seen signaling this is my territory. You dare not come close. I say I dare and I will. After having diesel filled, we started again but something had changed in just two hours. I was humming. Glow on my face was back. From dull my figure had transformed into energetic one. Cool breeze is hitting my face. Green horizon satiated my inner self. Sound of howling wind made me feel as if this place is made for me. Unconsciously my hands and feet were maneuvering some dance moves. Next one hour felt like eternity. On the way we had sumptuous breakfast, got enough lunch packed and met groups from Bootcamp Assignment.We are almost there. Small villages on the way. I think people gave us sharp look because they did not like their autonomy and peace taken away. I hear mountains are calling. Need to get there quickly. Everybody was busy chatting and I was contently looking at lush green fields, unparallel beauty and the curves those mountains had. Curves get man excited and these curves surely got me excited.
Eventually we reach the base. I got out of the van and opened my mouth to say something but could not. It seemed disrespectful to describe what I was looking at n mere few words. Impatience grew and I wished to be there at once. With photos clicked we grabbed cooking pot, garbage bags, gloves and set on the voyage.
Being 70% introvert and slowly ascending to 80% did not matter at all. It felt like home only with everybody there. This is what happens when you long for something. Nothing can stopyou. As we are following the trails cutting across everything, hydrating ourselves every few hundred meters, coming across teams from Bootcamp one thing struck me. How with the persistence and perseverance mountaineers before came and went and what they left was these marks, these trails. Think about the people who were first to set foot on those paths. They created their own way and today we were following those footsteps. Amazing! This is the beauty of will and passion. After 2 hours we realized that one person will have to be escorted back to starting point for slowing things a little bit. We continued forward as peter took him all the way back, came back and overtook us in no time!
There are two ways somebody becomes inspiration for you. First when you hear his/her trails. Second is when you see that person doing those things. I saw him doing those things. Although I am an atheist but instantly converted to theist when I found the God in my temple, Peter. Vishal is there too. Soon came to know about Vipul, an ultrarunner. He immediately got the place there too. This guy does what I am afraid to do. There is he. Soon we come to a pool. Almost everybody was swimming. I too swam. Water was very cold. Around 2 we had our lunch. It was atthattime I realized, Iwas getting fever. Knowing my body is still warm from trekking andhow itwouldreact,I should have letitcool down andthen shouldhave swam.
We got moving at 3. After playing with rocks, boulders, water and our feet for almost 1hour we reached another pool. Surrounding thispool were tempting plain mats of rocks, remains of past camping, small and large trees perfect to get our clothes dried. This scenery made us change our plan and we decided to camp there. Our initial plan was to camp near Dead End Pool ,1 hour away from currently planned campsite, so we had kept cooking pot and cleanup kit near to Dead End pool in the morning. Peter and Vishal decided to go and get the things. It was 4:30 now and will be dark by the time they come back. So Sanchana gave her torch to’em (A torch which only worked in the daylight and never in thenight!). We proceeded to the campsite as they embarked on that short journey. First thing everybody did wasto find a place for a good night sleep. I didn’t care. I quickly jumped over the rocks, got my heavy bag, stinky shoes and socks off, pandiculated myself and sat near the bank of the pool.It felt so placid that I lost myself in that very moment. Dharamraja, muruga and poeyamozhi are swimming. Still feeling feverish I took Crocin, went away from all the noise to a flat surface, lied down for half an hour and I was back, back with the same energy I had in the morning. Jaweed seemed worried because I was sleeping at his spot. (Not because I was sick, ha ha ha)
Camp fire is up. Everybody is busy chatting. I am talking with Vijay, a keen knowledge hunter. Then joined the group of Sundhari, Snachana, Vijay, Surendar then sat with Jackson, Varadraja, Soorya. Everybody had such a good physique. I was listening to everybody but I was not there. Lost in myself, my thoughts took me here and there. Everything happened throughout the day was rewinding and playing over and over again in my head. Suddenly a thought flashed. No network! I wished I had itto share those moments with somebody but didn’t matter. I liked this torture. Made me realize how robotic I am becoming. Entangled in all these thoughts , a second thought struck like thunder. Vishal! Where is he?? Its 8 already. As we realized it is pitch dark now and he will not come back, he must have stayed with bootcamp teams near dead end pool, we slowly started to fall asleep.
Everything reminded me of mynative. I had long forgotten that feeling. It was so serene, pleasant, aroma of freshness ubiquitously present, a feeling that seemed to complete my poor soul (I still shiver when I think of that moment) I just wished to lie down there until the judgment day comes. Jaweed suggests to eat whatever we have and sleep properly as it is must to refuel ourselves. Two important precautions told by Jaweed: sleep wearing sleepers and keep torch within your reach for anything happens you should be ready within a second.
Its only 6:30 but everybody is awake and some are already in the pool. I yawn and stretch real hard, get my specs on and try to capture everything in my eyes. Vipul is busy taking pictures of Sanchana and everybody else. Dharamraja went to some good height where water was flowing down from into the pool. Water was getting splashed there real good and he seemed to like it, water hitting against his body. Last evening too he did the same. Muruga went little higher and jumped again and again into the pool. I could not dare. Poeyamozhi went there too to jump but could not so he came to the spot Dharamraja was at and jumped again and again. Naughty dharamraja found new place.He went there and stayed there like always. Later jumped few times too. Having got perfect platform Poeyamozhi showed his diving skills and each time he came out of the pool like Shiva with hands clasped together. Sanchana seemed excited. She too got to this new spot but didn’t seem amused with such low height! So she went to a place one foot above water level and jumped once, twice! She seemed content.
In between all this lords Peter and Vishal had come. Cooking pot was immediately put to use. Those barren tea leaves, sugar, milk powder got back the purpose of their life and tea was 10 minutes away from its destination. Sundhari and Sanchana had prepared and we gulped lemon juice. We swam, filled water bottles with drinking water from water stream little higher, again swam, again filled bottles, jumped fewtimes, drank tea, again swam and filled bottles, jumped few times, came back only for tasty lunch of tomato chutney and rice prepared by Jaweed and ganpathy and filled ourselves half, again swan, filled bottles, came back for second round of lunch and went back for last round of swimming and filling bottles. This became more like picnic than cleanup trek. Watch was clocking 11:45 by now and we had to get going. One bootcamp team told us that we cannot go on our planned route because there will not be any water for 3 hours so we decided to go towards dead end pool. By 12:00 we were on move. Our monkey man, selfiegrapher Vipul put his phone to good use. He didn’t but his phone definitely felt exhausted after two day trek and needed two days rest.
There we are standing on the thin line of the world with us and without us. I am shit scared for my life. My life is what I love most, more than my imaginary girlfriend.
Vipul had his fear conquered, so had everybody else except me. I was working on probability than to conuer my fear. Sanchana had her shoe sole torn off. She was trekking barefoot for a long time. I was mesmerized. I too tried barefoot but my feet started aching . Amazing how people andthings become inspiration for others. Somebody on the way told me, “You should advise only when you are experienced” because I was first timer and that person was right but you don’t have to be so arrogant about being experienced!! Slowly weare coming to end of the trek. My heart is heavy. I did not want it to end, ever. We come to the place we started from. Vipul is giving everybody a good full back body massage. I too get some from Vijay. Peter and Vishal went to rescue two teams from Bootcamp who got lost so Sundhari decided to wait for them. We started cleaning up the garbage from the magic pool streams till the end. We collected as much as garbage we can and segregated it. It was a relief to see the streams back so clean after many private teams ruined by throwing glass and plastics. All 15 participants were cleaning nook and corner along the streams and trails.
We all start our journey back as I feel torn apart in two pieces. One part glued to those mountains. I did not know Ganesh and company had something more in mind. After one and half hour we reached to this Punjabi Dhaba, around 50 kms from Chennai. Dhabas, at top place in my list of where would you prefer to eat gives you what nothing else can provide. Maybe I will open a dhaba just to eat at it everyday. It had been13 months since last time I ate ina dhaba near my college in Kanpur. I only got up when all the plates and all my fingers were licked clean. Soon we start our journey. Slowly the time came to bid goodbye to everyone one by one. I withParthiban got down at SRP Tools and got one share auto. 15 mins walk from Perungudi bus stop to my home seemed very long. Finally there I was at 12:30 inmy bed thinking about every moment and already making plans for next weekend.
I do what I like. I don’t like being forced so I force myself. I forced and gave myself the challenge to write this because I like it. I am reliving those moments and fulfilling my dream of writing.
Come and sing with me-
I am nenjukulle
You are nenjukulle
Everybody is nenjukulle
For those who are wondering nenjukulle means In My Heart. I thought it is pronounced as neelkunje so I sang like that in the trek but everybody was laughing. Apparently neelkunje means Blue Chick. So neelkunje became passcode for our trek too. Above song is dedicated to all neelkunjes out there.
Adios everybody till next time!
LISTEN TO YOUR HEART AND NOT YOUR MIND !!
Write up by: Sundhari
So as the law of teams go ,last minute my boot camp team disengaged and I was to myself.I am however grateful to my teammates Laskshmi and Chelvi who helped complete the assignments.I get lost when I am driving on the road alone with all the signs possible! How do you think I will make it on the mountain alone!Being the only daughter to my father did’nt want to take the risk.So decided to offer logistics help to Peter(Not that he needed it).
Started from home at 3:45 ,picked up a few members on the way and leisurely stopped by breakfast waiting for the other teams and most importantly “ The clean up warriors” .Hats off to them.Let alone you trek with your luggage ,you are also carrying down bags with gargabe,some of them heavy with bottles.With CTC and organizers like Vishal anything is possible.
We gobbled up yummy idlis and vadas ,few experienced trekkers packed for afternoon and we headed towards the base.The boot camp teams organized their own transport and were heading towards base camp. Some got lost !Good start right?Finally all of them got their way points ,opened up Orux and started sorry forgot the confused faces too!Mind voice of few of them “ The seven assignments were easier”.
We started our journey along with warriors and stopped to the shout of Vishal “ Where are the gloves and bags” LOL!It was in the car .Thankfully we had not gone far off.Few went back to get it while we started the selfie regime in all angles.
The team resumed after 15 minutes and momentum picked up.We reached a spot and hid our tarps and pots near to camp site.Idea was to come back and get it.Plan was to have the warriors and boot campers all camp at the same spot.
Same lovely route of our beloved Nagala.The recent rains made the entire region look like it was covered with a green blanket containing various shades of green .The streams were overflowing with fresh sparkling water and you could see the fish dancing all throughout.
We sat down at the first pit stop and opened up the booty and started sharing titbits from everyone’s bag.Not too open as we had another day to go.What if we lose our way and get stuck in Nagala for an extra day?What if?We will atleast be alive for one additional day with the food!This was also the time for team bonding and enjoying the quietness of nature.Bliss!We knew better pastures to come so resumed our journey and reached 50 metres falls for lunch.This structure amazes me.What a personification of nature.Its like a mini waterfall.A single root carrying the water down safely down and then letting it fall by itself,exactly how a parent takes care of a childs growth
We swam to our hearts content,ate some yummy food,special mention of Lokesh and his sweet Boondi packet.After a power nap we left this heaven with a heavy heart but snapshot memories.We jumped across boulders,walked on grass,walked on trails but kept going drinking in the views all throughout.
We then came to picnic pool and rested before we had to hit the camp site.It was around 5 p.m and we were rushing.As soon as the crowd rested at picnic pool there was no way to extract them from there.The senstitive organizers vishal and peter agreed to leave the team here to camp when they would go ahead and Vishal return with our cooking pot.What a time we had at the pool!!Just relaxed and talking and swimming around led us into night and hunger struck in.Pot had not yet come.We got worried for boot campers as we were sure the only reason Vishal had not returned is they would have gone for rescue.We waited,had some snacks and slept to the blissful sound of the water.
Guys-Do you realize its priceless to wake up to birds and running water and silence of the forest and we are the lucky ones.Each one getting up from slumber and jumping into the water again.Whilst we sit and plan of action lo!We see Vishal and Peter!What a relief.Yes they were on rescue mission.We made some amazing tea and was thrilled to hear that we could spend time till lunch in this heaven.We decided to cook the rice as per plan.Javed our cook/Photographer made the most amazing gravy and we ate without limits.Non swimmers got an innovative learning methodology from Peter and many jumped in open water confidently. We made a point to use it at our own quarry later.
One boot camp team joined us for company and left post food.Comments from them “ We will meet in chennai”,”Guys hurry up you will be late”,” Guys we are planning to take tough route.dont follow us”.We were terrified of this set of trekkers.God answered our prayers and we saw them again just in 30 minutes.They had lost their way,half the team tired and waiting above for water!LOL!Strangely they forgot their dialogues and behaved like third party friends!I will be kind and not mention names here J!Vishal then accompanied them to their destination
We heard the dreaded word from Peter “Lets get going guy “ !Some behaved like they could not hear.Vishal re-iterated and now there is no ignoring for second time.We packed up and started our descend to the base.Come the dead end pool and we very careful as this place was busy with bee activity.Kept walking moving those muscles and met Vishal and gang half way. Peter went back with vishal to rescue a boot camp team and we reached the temple.
We also managed to fill in bags with thrash on the way and cleaned up as we moved. The waste warriors all left in the van and I decided to stay back for vishal and Peter .We collected list of boot campers.All had left except for two,one who the team had gone to rescue and another who were spotted and were on their way back.Experienced so no fear.They came in first and thanks to Prasanna and team they waited with me and the company helped pass some time.Finally our guys were out and we headed to our dhaba.
Another weekend well spent !I feel blessed to have had this opportunity and always thank the stars everytime I turn back and wave back to Nagala!